Saturday, 7 December 2013

Waitrose management think it's "correct" to use an English flag for Cornish fish

There's been image circulating social media for a few weeks now, of Cornish sardines (pilchards) displayed with an English flag, along with the caption "spot the mistake". It's something I'd not noticed until this week, so I asked them on twitter why it wasn't a Cornish flag (as did many others on their facebook page and twitter). The same stock answer came back for ease of identification an English flag is used, any questioning of this was answered with a stony silence. I even asked their twitter operator if they knew what a Cornish flag looked like, no reply. 

The customer is always right unless their Cornish?

So I sought a more considered response and some dialogue, so I emailed their ceo. Explaining Cornish pride in our flag and our food. I also pointed out the significance of the quality of Cornish produce and that Waitrose should take pride in that.  I pointed out the trend toward labelling the origin of food and it's food miles.  All good arguments,  I believe for displaying Cornish food as Cornish.

Anyway here's the reply I received to my email a  few days ago,  it's a very token response and didn't address any of my points. Any thoughts to what my response should be?

Dear Mr Simmons

Thank you for your patience while I looked into this matter.

I’ve contacted Jeremy Langley, our fish buyer with your enquiry. He’s advised that the use of national flags was introduced to help our customers to quickly identify UK produced fish and shellfish. We decided to use national rather than the regional flags as these are more easily recognised by our Customers.  Cornwall is recognised as a county of England within the United Kingdom and therefore the use of the English flag to denote Cornish sourced product is correct.

We appreciate your thoughts on this matter but I’m afraid at this stage we haven’t got any plans to change our current labelling of our fish.  We do hope despite this, we can look forward to seeing you in our stores again soon.

Yours sincerely

D Lamont (Miss)
Case Manager, Executive Office